Next Tuesday, 26th November sees the launch of the White Paper on independence, this document is effectively the last chance saloon for the Yes Camp to try and kick start their failing campaign.
The BBC along with other news agencies is covering the release of the document; the BBC is also doing a programme discussion regarding the various issues raised and I have been invited to be part of that BBC programme.
As one of Scotland’s emerging political bloggers, it seems that my views do in fact appeal to a wide ranging audience. I am use to seeing the BBC regularly pop up on the blog from time to time, spending hours reading countless pages from London. I just thought it was someone doing a bit of research; it appears it may have been more than that; it seems perhaps I was being vetted.
Anyway, what I would say to anyone is you should have a go at blogging yourself;, all it takes is commonsense and to look beyond rhetoric, think for yourself.
So, if you want to hear the George Laird view on the BBC, then tune into the BBC programme discussion.
I will be on my best behaviour, wasn’t expected to be asked.
On the issues expected to be mentioned is finance, how things will be paid for, and the speech that will be delivered is probably been written and rewritten as the SNP seeks to present the White paper in the best possible light.
Hard questions need to be asked, but this is all about Alex Salmond and Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set piece grandstanding.
When it comes to finance, an independent Scotland would need to cut spending or increase taxes for its finances to be sustainable in the long term.
Year on year in this SNP Government people are seeing services cut and budgets being slashed as austerity kicks in, there is talk of recovery and growth, but in some respects it is ‘paid’ for by those at the bottom being squeezed.
A new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warns that an independent Scotland would face a "fiscal gap".
Mind the gap!
Well, someone better mind the gap; along time ago I was blogging repeatedly as a theme that the task of this session of the Scottish Parliament should have been about Government and local Government reform.
That didn’t happen, it can’t happen now before the vote, and therefore Scotland at a Governmental level is unprepared for independence.
That means trouble, big trouble, the kind of big trouble that leads Scotyland on the same road as Greece.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said the analysis "underlines the case for an independent Scotland".
Actually, it doesn’t, everything cannot be solved by independence, most independent countries have economic problems; some like Greece, Italy and Spain have seen civil unrest, not just in streets but within their own Parliaments.
Alistair Darling, of Better Together is having a terrific independence campaign, post 2014 defeat of Alex Salmond, he should be in line for a knighthood at the very least.
Anyway Darling says the new report left the SNP's economic case for independence "in tatters".
Making up policy ‘on the hoof’ isn’t smart, the SNP have done knee jerk short term thinking, PR stunts to attempt to get vote caches using issues such as the bedroom tax. We know nothing about how welfare will operate in Scotland but we do know that Alex Salmond and the SNP are against the bedroom tax, on paper at least. Think of this, they are building a house around the fact they already purchased the sofa, cart before the horse.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies report, entitled Financial Sustainability of an Independent Scotland flags up many issues that the SNP are weak on such as how much debt Scotland inherited from the UK, the interest it paid on the debt, the age of the population and potential changes in oil revenues and immigration rates.
So, don’t kid yourself that everything is in hand.
Alex Salmond is banking a lot on North Sea oil revenues, the SNP have never really departed from their failed 1970’s campaign that it is Scotland’s Oil. It didn’t resonant then and it will not resonant now in present day Scotland.
The think tank analysis of Scotland’s problems said "even under the most optimistic scenario" bringing national debt down would require something like a 6% reduction in total public spending, a rise of 9% on the basic rate of income tax or a VAT rate of 28%.
If you think you are going to get a Nordic Welfare system, you are being deceived by the SNP; everything appears to be Nordic, presumably because Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon likes Borgen, a TV show.
The independence referendum takes place on 18 September 2014, with voters in Scotland being asked the yes/no question:
"Should Scotland be an independent country?"
If you have followed the polls, you would have seen the answer time and time again, working class people are going to vote No!
It’s a matter of trust, people can accept mistakes but there comes a point where all goodwill has been used up due to deception, misinformation and what can be only described as outright lying.
Just as you can’t buy independence you can’t lie your way there either.
Nationalists take note.
Gemma Tetlow, one of the authors of this report, said Scotland would face "even tougher choices" than the UK as a whole over the long term.
Didn’t George Laird say previously we faced austerity over decades?
Yes, oh how the less than ‘great minds’ of Salmond and Sturgeon must rue the day, that they took their party on the road to cronyism.
#Radicalthinking a new joke in the SNP among the many drones around Nicola Sturgeon’s arse, so many hard pressed to political butt cheeks. And apparently so proud of that fact as well, some people are easily pleased.
Back to the big picture; Tetlow added:
"Revenues from the North Sea will probably decline and official population projections suggest that the average age of the Scottish population will increase more rapidly than for the UK as a whole, putting greater upward pressure on many areas of public spending."
This may help UKIP in their bid to leave the European Union, the worse it gets, the more chance people will want to halt immigration and that means voting to leave. Some time ago I proposed that the EU need reform and part of that reform was an internal immigration policy; well already accept that all EU members have the right to set external policy in this area. The EU needs to evolve now that it has grown to 27 member states, it should have happened some time ago, however, there has been a lack of political will in so many areas where there should be common ground.
Tetlow’s take is realistic, it paints a grim picture:
"As a result, to ensure long-run fiscal sustainability, an independent Scotland would need to cut public spending and/or increase other tax revenues more than would be required across the UK as a whole."
Alistair Darling said:
"This sober and impartial analysis by the IFS leaves the SNP's economic case for independence in tatters. SNP ministers pretend that in an independent Scotland there would be more money to spend, but that notion has been comprehensively demolished by the analysis from this respected institution. Today's report is clear that an independent Scotland would need big cuts to things like pensions, benefits and the NHS or a big increase in tax. This report sets a major test for the SNP's White Paper. If the White Paper does not face up to the long-term consequences of leaving the UK, then it won't be worth the paper it is written on."
So, on Tuesday, the White paper needs to answer so much, not a spun narrative of wishful thinking but actual nuts and bolts, and also spell out Plan B for currency which is either a Scottish pound or as I see it, the SNP hedging bets for the Euro.
Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign, said:
"Only a yes vote can put in place the economic levers to produce policies best suited to the needs and aspirations of our people and provide a change of course from the City of London economic model. The urgency of independence to meet the demographic challenges ahead is further highlighted. It is extraordinary to see in black and white that UK policies are expected to result in a decline in the population of working age people in Scotland. That makes it clearer than ever before that Westminster is not working for Scotland - and we quite simply cannot afford to stay in the UK."
Given that Jenkins takes the SNP line, perhaps he can explain why so many independent countries are failing economically?
Many people are simply fed up with the SNP ‘positive’ ‘it’s all the fault of Westminster’ campaign.
There is a lot of talk and not a lot is productive, will the White paper remedy this deficit or will it be the same line as usual?
Will Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon turn it all round for them, you can catch the George Laird view on the BBC radio programme this Tuesday.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University